Couch Pumpkin: Sofa Adventures
News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

Perchance to dream~ Inception

Inception, the new film from Memento and Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, is definitely flavour of the month…and extremely hard to review without spoilers! So, if you haven’t seen it yet,  I’ll just say I enjoyed it thoroughly and definitely give it my seal of approval. It’s a more cerebral take (hoho) on the summer blockbuster, with some excellent action set pieces and very tense moments. It’s not perfect, but certainly worth spending an evening watching, especially as it is one of the few original movies out there at the moment.

And now for the spoilery discussion…

Inception is not quite as complex as Memento, but I’m still thinking about it today (which is a good thing!). With its multiple dream layers, it’s just about followable, but has a certain complexity that keeps the audience on their toes. The plot doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny (why don’t they go anti-grav in the snowscape?), but I think this may be a deliberate choice (more on that later).

The action sequences veer from inspired (the anti-grav stuff…awesome) to bordering on video-game (snowscape). The balance of character/story/action is fairly good overall though. The Mombasa chase scene has to be one of the best I’ve seen recently.

The characters are one of the film’s strengths. Forming a Hustle-esque heist team, their relationships with each other are entertaining and non-conventional. For example, I like the friendship between Ariadne (classical reference!) and Cobb, which (to me at least) has no romantic or sexual undertones, but rather appears more of a mentor-mentee situation. Another example would be the slightly antagonistic banter between Eames and Arthur, which lends humour to the film as well as showcasing two of its finest (scene-stealing) stars, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a great actor, and I also think Marion Cotillard does a fantastic job as his wife Mal (or Moll, what I heard all the way through!). Cobb is perhaps a little overemphasised – I got bored of his angst some way in. Those fabulous secondary characters don’t quite get enough development, one of my few serious criticisms.

And yet…perhaps they’re not meant to. Cobb states emphatically that a dream throws you into the action, so you can’t remember how you got there. In fact, this piece of advice is one of their key weapons in the ‘Mr. Charles’ scenario. Isn’t this exactly what the movie does? We’re thrown in with Cobb and his crew with very little set-up (bar the expositionary dialogue conveniently positioned in the opening deception). Arthur is just there, with no explanation or back story – just as in a dream we know the other characters already.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is an explicit sign that things are not as straightforward as they seem…although this surprising discovery about the soundtrack may be another ‘clue’ in that direction. But it’s certainly something that makes me like the film more. Just as Deckard’s identity in Blade Runner is a great talking point for fans, I have a feeling that Inception will provide plenty of controversy, and not just about the spinning top.

Although I’m not really a fan of Nolan’s Batman work, I did enjoy Memento and Insomnia, and Inception is another great piece to add to his canon. Well directed, constructed and acted, Inception is a cut above the usual summer fare!

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